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Riz cop sent to Adhir backyard

Calcutta, July 15: IPS officer Gyanwant Singh, who had been removed as the deputy commissioner (headquarters) of Calcutta police in connection with the Rizwanur Rahman case and had spent the past seven years in posts seen as less important, was today promoted and made the deputy inspector-general (Murshidabad range).

Sources said one of the reasons for sending Singh — who was brought back to “mainstream policing” after he was given a clean chit recently in a departmental inquiry — to Murshidabad was his “track record” in connection with Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury, a known Mamata Banerjee-baiter who has kept his clout in the district intact despite the Trinamul Congress’s onslaught elsewhere.

“The government is sending Singh to Murshidabad apparently to initiate pending cases against Chowdhury. The Behrampore MP’s ties with the chief minister are strained,” a source said.

The 1993-batch officer had been removed as DC (headquarters) of Calcutta police in 2007 for his alleged interference in the marriage of Rizwanur and Priyanka Todi. Singh’s promotion had been stalled too.

When Singh was the police superintendent of Murshidabad between 2004 and 2006, he had arrested eight aides of Chowdhury and reopened several cases against the MP. These cases had been closed after files relating to them allegedly went missing from Behrampore court’s record room, sources said.

“Singh had recovered 21 files relating to cases of murder, attempt to murder and rioting and arson against Chowdhury. The officer reopened these cases,” said a senior home department official.

The sources drew a parallel between the Left government’s posting of Singh in Murshidabad and that of the Trinamul administration’s move to send him back there.

Chowdhury, who won the Behrampore seat in the Lok Sabha elections by over 3 lakh votes, alleged today that there was a “hidden agenda” behind “whatever” Mamata Banerjee, also the home minister, did.

“It is clear that she has promoted the officer and is sending him to Murshidabad to decimate the Congress. But for people like us, who are in active politics, such things don’t matter,” Chowdhury said.

Singh, who had earlier held important posts in Calcutta police such as DC (central), DC (detective department) and DC (headquarters), was transferred as special superintendent (enforcement branch), a post seen as relatively less important, after the Rizwanur controversy in 2007. Last year, he was posted as the commandant of the 1st battalion.

Sources in the state government said Singh was given the clean chit recently and the departmental inquiry against him was closed citing “want of evidence”.

A CBI probe into the unnatural death of Rizwanur and the role of three IPS officers — Singh, then Calcutta police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee and DC DD Ajoy Kumar — had found no cause for criminal charges against Prasun Mukherjee and Singh for “lack of evidence”.

Based on the central agency’s report, Calcutta High Court had recommended departmental inquiry against Singh and Mukherjee, whose names were omitted from the chargesheet. The court had observed that Singh and Kumar had acted “illegally by interfering in the affairs of a legally married couple”.

A senior official said today: “The inquiry was started in 2008 by a committee that had then ADG (IB) Naparajit Mukherjee as its only member. No such inquiry was conducted against Prasun Mukherjee. The committee, however, never submitted a report, even after the change of guard in the state.”

The sources said Singh had not been given the clean chit during the Left regime apparently because of the political damage the Rizwanur case had caused the Front.

Then chief secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty had received a letter from the Union home ministry seeking a status report on the departmental inquiry but no reply was sent, the sources said.

Trinamul MLA Rukbanur Rahman, Rizwanur’s brother, said he was unhappy with the clean chit to Singh. “I was dissatisfied when the CBI gave Singh the clean chit. But now that state government too has given him the clean chit, I will request the chief minister to order a fresh probe,” Rukbanur said.